Health and Safety - SSSP, On-Site Hazard Disclosure & JSA

Ok this one will be contentious

Why? Because tradies hate paperwork, they went into a trade to stay away from it; now the bureaucrats are ramming it down their throat. In the form of cotton wool to save you from yourself.

Ok, we have got your attention, good!

Yes, we are somewhat on your side, to a point, we like to see people go home at night too. Having seen a few serious accidents over the years, we're firmly in the camp of standing on the fence.

To the tradie we are going to look like an OTT Nancy and to WorkSafe, we are going to look like we are shooting from the hip. So we are not keeping anyone happy.

This particular safety work needs to be done, at a level that is sufficient to ensure safety without significantly reducing productivity and increasing costs.

So when it comes to site management you need to be quite clear on where you set the line or bar for your site management, everyone will follow your lead on this.

The SSSP - The Site Specific Safety Plan

What is it?

A SSSP is the overarching safety plan for the site; it is the go-to document for construction and hazardous site safety management. It covers the hazards, contact information, responsibilities and safety information.

When it comes to the site-specific safety plan (SSSP), it needs to be done well to ensure things run smoothly.

All contact details and who is responsible needs to be really clear.
Additionally what is being done, and what is to be achieved, needs to be clear as well.

Without a clear plan, you not only increase costs, but you increase the chance of confusion on the site that results in injuries. Especially when you have different people/teams doing different things at the same time.

The SSSP ties in the various on-site hazard disclosures and the site manager ensures the site safety board is kept up to date with the relevant safety information, day to day or as the site safety situation changes.

On-Site Hazard Disclosure

Now the bit that seems to be confusing everyone. Do you provide a SSSP or an On-Site Hazard Disclosure?

What has been happening is every trade coming on site, with many sites, have been presenting a SSSP to the site manager. The challenge is there's only one site manager responsible. They hold and manage the SSSP.

If you are not the site manager, then you are a trade coming on site, and you need to provide an On-Site Hazard Disclosure

What is this?

In basic terms, it is a list of the hazards you will be bringing on to the site, what harm they represent and your controls to manage those hazards.

It simplifies the disclosure requirements for the trades coming on to a site and makes the life of the site manager somewhat easier with compiling the information required.

There will still be the overall requirement for a trade/business to provide/disclose their Health & Safety plan, which should happen well before they arrive on site.

The one that the tradies are going to push up against is the JSA.

When it comes to specific jobs relating to the site, a Job Safety Assessment (JSA) needs to be done.

Now this is a bit more detailed, not so much "I put this piece here and that piece there", but more we are putting up the end frame, and we have the electrician starting pre-wire, and the plumber is halfway through plumbing the end ensuite, for example.

This is about stopping and assessing the situation before you start work. This also goes for anyone else who is coming on to start work too. Moreover, for those already working, understanding they may need to stop and reassess too.

Though the ones who are already working, should know and have considered additional workers starting on the site.

Yes, we hear it already, pain in the arse paperwork. Yup. However, necessary to ensure active engagement with changing conditions on a work site.

We have had a client who had an injury and didn’t have their JSA done. The first thing they said to me was, “It wasn’t a typical situation and was a one-off out of the box from normal. And there were other unexpected contractors on site.”

Without being too crass, this is my point. New out of the box situation and extra people coming onto a site; they needed to stop and assess the situation before proceeding.

A JSA needs to be signed off by; the contractor, the supervisor, and the site manager. So it is going to require some logistics and supervision, which definitely is going to increase costs with most jobs.

By actively managing risk you will find a surprising advantage and outcome that most haven’t considered.

By stopping and thinking about what you are doing and how you will do it, you will identify shortfalls in your process. No not H&S ones, but practical business ones.

What we mean here is because you have always done it that way does not mean you should always do it that way. Yes, some things will have a regulated way to do it, but many others may have steps that are unnecessary, or the usual approach is inefficient.

No, we are not suggesting dropping your standards, quite the opposite. The regular stops to actively think about what you are doing will generate new ideas on how to approach old problems.

This could and can be a significant competitive advantage to you. However, you need to think it through.

So what’s the best way to handle all of this?

Build it into your business processes; if you are a bigger company, it is likely all of this will give you better data to make better decisions from. Hopefully, it reduces your injury risk and subsequently your ACC.

Next up we will talk H&S and how this affects your ACC levies and experience.

Health & Safety and ACC